THE Senate, Tuesday, said the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), and Ayo Oke, former Director-General of Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), has vindicated it.
President Buhari on Monday relieved both men of their duties, having placed them on suspension for about six months following their investigation by a special panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over allegations bordering on fraud levelled against them.
A special ad hoc committee set up by the Senate to look into the disbursement of special funds meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East ravaged by Boko Haram had found Lawal guilty of fraud.
Instead of carrying out the Senate’s recommendation, the presidency rather placed Lawal on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation by the VP’s panel.
Bala Ibn N’Allah, deputy Senate leader, who raised a motion under Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules, to bring up the matter on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, noted that the executive had earlier attempted to blackmail the 8th Senate when senators insisted that the accused officials must be probed and sacked.
During Tuesday’s plenary, Senator Na’Allah, who also cited Section 80 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution, which, he argued, mandated the Senate to expose corrupt and inefficient public officials.
According to him, there were some conceivable measures employed by the executive to ridicule the good image of the Senate, and that youths were also used to stage protest against the lawmakers’ demand to ensure probe of the accused government officials.
He, however, noted that with the sack, the insistence of senators for probe had been justified and that lawmakers would not be deterred to conclude other pending investigations.
Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, commended the executive for taking the right step, adding that the sack of the accused officials would strengthen the fight against corruption.
He said: “I want to commend government for doing the right thing on this matter because when we started the probe, it was more of blackmail on us, but we could not stop in our commitment to expose corruption.
“Now, youths that are sometimes used by corrupt politicians should no longer make themselves available for use. Today, we are vindicated and this will strengthen the fight against corruption.”
President Buhari had in a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media, said he took the decision to sack the two men after studying the report of the panel headed by Osinbajo, which investigated allegations of corruption against both government officials.
Lawal was found culpable in a slew of allegations that included questionable diversion of funds meant for IDPs, while Oke was the head of NIA when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found N13 billion belonging to the foreign intelligence office in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, on April 12, 2017.
The Osinbajo panel recommended Babachir and Oke’s dismissal.
Lawal has since been replaced Boss Mustapha. – Independent
– Nov 1, 2017 @ 17:22 GMT |